Container Conversion is the perfect bird's eye view

We’ve come up with another unusual use for a former shipping container.

Working with our client the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, we’ve created a specialised bird hide for Paxton Pits Nature Reserve in Huntingdonshire. The new hide was delivered after a fire burned down what was known as the Hayden Hide. Now the internal fit out is complete, together with the construction of a sloping roof and some landscaping, local bird watchers have a great bird’s eye view of wildlife in the nature reserve.

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve is a rich mosaic of wildlife habitats over 78 hectares of lakes, riverside, meadow, reed bed, scrub and woodland situated in the Great Ouse valley between St Neots and Huntingdon. The site is managed by Huntingdonshire District Council and is supported by the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.

Local volunteer David Cobham said the Friends were thrilled with their new container “hide”: “we are delighted with the standard of finish of the hide, which will be our flagship structure on the Reserve,” he said.

Senior Ranger Jim Stevenson said: “When the Hayden Hide burned down last August, most volunteers and staff saw this as a disaster and the end of an era”, but things turned around “when the new Hayden Hide arrived at Paxton Pits we all agreed that it was an upgrade from the old wooden hide we loved. Whereas the old was a rather grandiose garden shed, the new one is more like a holiday chalet!”

He said that after obtaining several quotes for a replacement, they placed an order with S Jones Containers: mentioning how we “turned out to be a remarkable company to work with – they make bespoke buildings from recycled containers. Once we were all happy with the design, the company set about building our unique hide.”

Our managing director Andrew Jones said: “Coming up with unusual solutions to different problems is all in a day’s work for us, but we certainly all enjoyed getting stuck in on this project.

“It is rewarding to know that local wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers are going to gain so much pleasure from one of our modified containers.”

We designed and produced the Hide from an initial concept based on a 40 foot ISO container cut down to 30 feet with vandal resistant inwards opening windows, with top hinged friction hinges and anti-loose latches. It has a steel insulated interior, internal shelves, footrests and stools that are chained to the floor, a canopy roof accessory to reduce solar gain and provide rainwater collection and a disabled access personnel door.  The unit was then painted in S Jones’s specialist 450m3 heated and filtered air paint oven.

This is by no means the most unusual use for an S Jones container and the variety of potential applications is almost infinite: “it’s really down to people’s imagination – we then help customers to ‘containerise’ their concepts so the finished product works as an engineered solution within a realistic budget”, explained Andrew.

“We’re completing some wonderfully diverse projects from ‘housing pods’ for the homeless, to biomass boiler installations for ‘green’ heating solutions, to pop-up cafés and restaurants.  There isn’t much we can’t do.”

“It was a real team effort from everyone involved” said Andrew.  “Our Conversions team, Huntingdonshire District Council, the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, our hauliers John Butlin Ltd who delivered the unit, through to Huntingdon Plant Hire who supplied and operated the crane that swung the unit into position on site.”

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